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Author Topic: more newbie questions  (Read 1099 times)

Offline tadpole

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more newbie questions
« on: May 20, 2006, 11:54:37 PM »
Hi all, I'm new to bee keeping and new to this site. I have several questions to get started.
I hived my packaged bees 4 weeks ago and everything went fine. I am using a frame feeder, because here in Oregon it is often cold and rainy this time of year. As it turned out, its been sunny all month, and the bees drew out the comb on the first box in three weeks. I've been feeding them the whole time, and last week they used very little of the feed. I added the second box one week ago, and they are starting on that one, too. I plan to put a queen excluder and a shallow super on top of the second box when the second box is drawn out. My questions are: Am I doing right so far? Is it necessary to use the smoker? I have not used it once, and have inspected the hive and filled the feeder every 4 days so far. Can or should I have more than 2 boxes for brood? Some of the drawn wax is yellow, and some is pure white. Any one know why this is? Before I put the second box on, they were building comb on top of the frames, and on the bottom of the inner cover. I scraped it off, and they have continued in the same place on the second box, even though the frames are not all drawn out yet. There is also quite a variance in the appearance of the workers. Some are nearly black, and some are smaller, and some are very light in color. Is this normal, and why is it? Any help will be appreciated!

IndianaBrown

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2006, 12:03:51 AM »
Quote
There is also quite a variance in the appearance of the workers. Some are nearly black, and some are smaller, and some are very light in color. Is this normal, and why is it?


My bees went from mostly-yellow-with-black, to smaller mostly-dark-brown-with-some-yellow.  :)  What you are seeing is the package bees gradually being replaced by new bees from your queen.  The bees that came with your package originally were most likely not from your queen.

Offline tadpole

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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2006, 12:12:14 AM »
Yes, that's what I figured, but thought I'd ask, anyway. Still surprised there is THAT much variation.........

Offline Brian D. Bray

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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2006, 12:27:21 AM »
The white comb is from the syrup you were feeding.  The yellow from nectar gathered by the bees.  If you haven't stop feeding yet do so now and the new super will be beautiful golden comb.  I'm north of you, nearly to Canada, and our weather has been pretty much like yours==a very pleasant spring.  If everything keeps going like it has you'll probably harvest som honey your first year--congrats.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline Michael Bush

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 10:28:34 AM »
>My questions are: Am I doing right so far?

I would have stopped feeding when they got a little stocked up and there was a nectar flow, but it seems to be working.

> Is it necessary to use the smoker?

I would light it.  You many not need it, but you disrupt them more with them getting into a major defensive than from smoking them.

> I have not used it once, and have inspected the hive and filled the feeder every 4 days so far.

But one day they will will rebel.  :)  It doesn't take but one puff across the top bars to make a world of difference on a day they are in a bad mood.

> Can or should I have more than 2 boxes for brood?

I think so.  Some people don't.  But then you're running deeps and if they fill it full of honey it will weigh 90 pounds.

> Some of the drawn wax is yellow, and some is pure white. Any one know why this is?

It's normal.  They track pollen on the wax and it gets yellow.  Over time it gets brown then eventually black.  Cocoons (from brood) will speed the process of getting to black.

> Before I put the second box on, they were building comb on top of the frames, and on the bottom of the inner cover. I scraped it off, and they have continued in the same place on the second box, even though the frames are not all drawn out yet.

I wouldn't worry too much about it.  But maybe you have the inner cover on upside down.  The space bewteen the top bars and the lid should be between 1/4" and 3/8".

> There is also quite a variance in the appearance of the workers. Some are nearly black, and some are smaller, and some are very light in color. Is this normal, and why is it?

The queen is open mated. She may have mated with many different drones and may have offspring with many different characteristics.  That and, as mentioned above, they package bees with whatever is around, not with that queens offspring.
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline tadpole

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2006, 11:08:06 PM »
Thanks for all the help and advice!